Roy Neal, longtime NBC News correspondent and exec who covered the U.S. manned space program, died Aug. 15 in High Point, N.C. The cause of death was not reported. He was 82.
Philadelphia native grew up in Philly suburbs and attended the U. of Pennsylvania for two years, but WWII intervened and he left college to serve in the Army. Returning to civilian life, he eventually joined NBC News in 1948, working for the net 38 years in various roles including correspondent, producer and exec.
He set up the network’s West Coast news bureau in the early 1950s and reported on political conventions in the 1960s and early ’70s.
He became an aerospace expert for the network, reporting on Mercury and Gemini missions as well as the Apollo program and first space shuttle trips.
After Apollo 11 landed on the moon and returned safely to Earth, Neal made a record album of his broadcast commentary, which was packaged with transmissions between mission control and the astronauts.
He was the pool reporter at NASA’s mission control during the disastrous Apollo 13 lunar flight in April 1970. He retired in 1986.
Survivors include wife Pat; two sons, David, who leads Olympic coverage for NBC, and Mark; and two grandchildren.